Breastfeeding Mom Fired Because She Refused to Pump Breast Milk in Bathroom

baby bottle milkMom Erika Zinn was recently hired at the Shelbyville, Indiana, Rural King (a farm and home store) as a seasonal employee. During her interview for the job, Zinn says she told the hiring managers that she is a breastfeeding mom and if she works over four hours, she would need a place to pump breast milk for her 11-month-old daughter. Everything seemed fine until she started working and was told she had to pump in the bathroom. Reportedly, this breastfeeding mom was fired for refusing to do so.


Zinn didn't want to pump in the bathroom and I understand why. Many bathrooms just aren't a suitable place to hang out for around 20 minutes to pump breast milk. It's difficult to get comfortable, to have clean air, to feel like you are in a sanitary place, especially if the only place to sit would be on a toilet. One of Zinn's co-workers arranged for her to pump in one of the fitting rooms, which could be a more private place. Reportedly, a manager didn't like that idea and told her to use the bathroom. Then she was fired. On the manager who let her go from her job of only a few days, Zinn said:

He said that due to my availability not being completely open and my needs, all the issues that arose due to my needs, that I wasn’t a good suit for the job.

My availability didn’t change from my application. They had time to review that. I think they fired me, because I wouldn’t quietly pump in the bathroom.

More From The Stir: Breastfeeding Mom Can't Pump at Work Because It's 'Disgusting'

Maybe some of you are thinking she should have just sucked it up and pumped in the potty, but think again. There is a law that protects breastfeeding mothers, and it says that as long as a company has 25 or more employees, "an employer shall provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express the employee’s breast milk in privacy during any period away from the employee’s assigned duties."

Looks like Rural King might be in a bit of trouble. Zinn reported the company to the Indiana Department of Labor. A Rural King human resources managers said they are looking into the matter, but hinted it was a he said/she said situation. 

Can't we all just get along here? Is it really such a big deal to accommodate a breastfeeding mother and allow her to pump in a place where she is comfortable? What happened to kindness and understanding and working together for a peaceful resolution? 'Tis the season? No matter what is revealed as the truth to exactly why Zinn was fired, employers should always work with a breastfeeding mom (or anyone with a special circumstance). It's not just the law, it's common decency.

What do you think? Should an employer work with a breastfeeding mother so she can pump in a place that is best for her?


Image via Nerissa's Ring/Flickr

Read More >